Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ex-paramilitaries 'more likely to be depressed'

Half of former loyalist paramilitaries and more than a third of republican activists are being treated with tranquilisers and sedatives, an Assembly committee has heard.

The so-called ex-combatants are more than five times more likely to be on anti-depressants than the general public, MLAs were told.

Former male prisoners are also four times more likely to become alcoholics than the standard population.

Furthermore, over a third of the ex-paramilitaries said they have contemplated suicide.

The revelations are based on research conducted in 2010 by Dr Peter Shirlow, of Queen’s University, who was appearing before the Stormont committee which is examining hardline unionist Jim Allister’s proposed bill for dealing with party special advisers. Dr Shirlow said: “One of the things we have to appreciate is that significant consequences come from being part of a paramilitary organisation involved in a conflict ...

“Why in Northern Ireland do we have more people on antidepressants than in other societies? It is because we went through a conflict.”

In his evidence to MLAs he said 35% of republicans and 50% of loyalists are on sedatives and tranquilisers — five or six times greater than the figure for the general population.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz